O-Zone Podcast: Peter King

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Sports illustrated columnist and media member Peter King does a sideline commentary before the Arizona Cardinals 2015 NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015 in Glendale, Ariz. The Chargers won the game 22-19. (Paul Spinelli via AP)

JACKSONVILLE – He likes the 'Stache.

Of that he left no doubt.

But longtime NFL writer Peter King also said a tricky reality is facing Jaguars second-year quarterback Gardner Minshew II – and King addressed that reality on the latest O-Zone Podcast.

"There is tremendous pressure on him to come in and be the guy who they believe that he should be –and he can be," King said.

King, one of the preeminent voices in NFL media, covered many topics during his O-Zone Podcast appearance with senior writer John Oehser. Among them were his longtime stint as Sports Illustrated's NFL writer, and his current position with NBC Sports where he writes his popular Football Morning in America column. He addressed, too, covering the NFL during COVID-19 – and described it as perhaps the most challenging and fascinating period of his four-decade-plus career.

"These stories are incredible," King said. "Only about half of them have to do with the game on the field. It's all this other stuff. Then, you add in the normal every-year stuff in the NFL. You add all the other stuff into that, and this is as crazy and interesting an offseason as we've had."

Specific to Jaguars, King focused primarily on Minshew – and he said while the pressure facing the young quarterback is "incredible," he is absolutely hoping for a successful story.

"I did an event with him at the Super Bowl this year," King said. "I didn't know Gardner Minshew. As everyone is, I was charmed by him. How are you not charmed by Gardner Minshew? How do you not root for Gardner Minshew? He's just this average guy who is so grateful for where he is – and he works hard. He has an appreciation for the life he has. I've got great appreciation for people who are like that….

"I really hope that deep down he has that ability to be that 'Don't-Worry-Be-Happy-Guy' that he sure looks like he is on the outside. I don't pull for a lot of people, but I'll be pulling for him."

King added of the Jaguars in general, "There's a lot pressure to be good from Day One. Plus, you have to be good from Day One in this totally, absolutely bizarre year. I don't envy [Head Coach] Doug Marrone and [General Manager] David Caldwell and the Khans and Minshew, quite honestly. Because there are no excuses. There's no more, 'We had a tough year.' You've just got to get it done."

To listen to the O-Zone podcast with King, click here.

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